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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Wisconsin DOT ponies up $16.4 million for eight freight-rail projects


The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) recently approved five loans and issued three grants totaling $16.4 million to help fund freight-rail projects.

The five loans, totaling $6.7 million, were issued through WisDOT's revolving-loan Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIIP); the three grants, totaling $9.7 million, were funded through the Freight Railroad Preservation Program (FRPP). FRIIP helps railroads, private industries and local governments fund improvements to rail infrastructure and grade crossings, and construct new rail-served facilities. FRPP provides grants that cover up to 80 percent of the cost to preserve rail service or rehabilitate facilities on publicly owned rail lines.

FRIIP recipients are:
• River Valley Energy, which obtained a $3 million loan to construct rail yard facilities, and grain ethanol loading and receiving facilities at a new ethanol production facility under development in Prairie du Chien;
• United Cooperative, which received a $2 million loan to build 3,981 feet of mainline and spur tracks, and a grain storage bin at a Rock Springs facility served by the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR) on right of way owned by Union Pacific Railroad;
• Badger Grain, which obtained a $911,000 loan to construct a 600,000-bushel capacity grain storage bin in Darien;
• Specialty Ingredients L.L.C., which received a $737,700 loan to construct a double spur track with a loadout facility to ship ethanol; and
• Glacier State Distribution Services Inc., which received a $26,352 loan to build a concrete loading platform at UP's yard in Altoona and a concrete loading platform adjacent to a Wisconsin Central Railroad/Canadian National Railway Co. siding in Mosinee.

FRPP recipients are:
• WSOR, which received a $4.8 million grant to complete phase II rehabilitation work on the Hartford-to-Horicon line, including the replacement of 14 miles of worn rail with 115-pound continuous-welded rail, and a $2.8 million grant to implement phase I of the Madison-to-Milton Junction rehabilitation project, including tie replacement and ballast renewal on a 31-mile line segment; and
• Wisconsin West Rail Transit Authority, which obtained a $2 million grant to purchase a Norma-to-Cameron rail line from UP. The line connects with Cameron-to-Rice Lake and Cameron-to-Barron lines owned by CN.

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More News from 9/25/2008